Manager not covered by federal awards

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Manager not covered by federal awards

A manager employed by a clothing manufacturer was found not to be covered by the Clothing Trades (State) Consolidated Award because the type of work performed by the manager was not covered in the award.

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A manager employed by a clothing manufacturer was found not to be covered by the Clothing Trades (State) Consolidated Awardbecause the type of work performed by the manager was not covered in the award.

The employee had been made redundant and sought the entitlements available under the award. The employee argued she was covered by the award for the purposes of claiming the entitlements because she was employed in the clothing industry and there was an award in that industry (Spalding v Can't Tear 'Em Pty Ltd [1999] FCA 438 (14 April 1999)).

On appeal from a decision of the Industrial Magistrate's Court of Queensland which found in favour of the employer, the Federal Court also found that the employee was not covered by the award as submitted.

The Court stated that the "question to be addressed is what is meant by the general reference to employment within the nominated industry, given the terms of an award which deals with conditions of employees undertaking particular tasks."

The Court held that the award in question is concerned with wage levels for particular classes of employees with rates of pay relating to the skill classification of employees. It was noted that some supervisory duties are mentioned, but the Court held:

"...it is not possible by reference to these provisions to discern what was thought to be the appropriate wage to be paid to a person, such as the [employee], who was regarded variously as a 'factory manager' or a 'product development manager'."

The Court found that the employee did not fall within the bounds of the award and in conclusion stated:

"It is obvious that employees working within a single industry do not necessarily share the same connexion [sic] with that industry, a connexion [sic] which would necessitate the same benchmark for pay and other employment conditions. Employees such as personnel managers, clerical staff and transport operators may be critical to the business operating within the clothing industry, but it does not necessarily follow that their work is to be regulated by the same award terms as production staff."

 
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